State Causing Delay in Oil Price Fixing Case? Skip to content

State Causing Delay in Oil Price Fixing Case?

The state has not yet issued a demand for indemnification because of price fixing between the Icelandic oil companies Skeljungur, Olís and Ker (previously Olíufélagid Esso) from 1993 to 2001 although 16 months have past since preparations for a lawsuit began.

In mid-August last year, Supreme Court Advocate Vilhjálmur H. Vilhjálmsson sent a letter to the oil companies on behalf of the state requesting recognition of their obligation to pay compensation to the state, Fréttabladid reports.

The oil companies refused on the grounds that the state had not suffered financial damage from their price fixing and then the state’s lawyers began preparing a lawsuit against the oil companies.

But the case has been delayed because the state has not yet provided information on its trade with the oil companies between 1993 and 2001, which primarily concerns the Coast Guard, the Public Road Administration and the Police.

According to Fréttabladid, the demand for indemnification could amount to ISK tens or hundreds of millions (ISK 100 million = USD 1.6 million, EUR 1.1 million). Vilhjálmsson would not comment on this case other than saying that it is being worked on full time.

Minister of Trade Björgvin G. Sigurdsson said it is necessary to investigate why the state’s demand for indemnification has not yet been issued. “It is unacceptable for tax payers how long this is taking and I believe it is natural to investigate what is causing the delay. Cases like this have to be handled quickly and efficiently.”

Jóhannes Gunnarsson, director of the Consumers’ Association of Iceland, said it is unbelievable how little interest the state has shown in this case. “In 2001 the price fixing was revealed. At the end of 2007 Iceland’s authorities have still not shown this case much interest and it hasn’t been handled by the criminal justice system.”

“Claims in this case can become invalid and the oldest claims probably already have, which recoils upon tax payers, who have the right to demand that authorities are looking out for their interest,” Gunnarsson said, adding the state has no excuse for this delay.

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